by JOHN RODEO
January 6, 2002
In this interview, I decided to expand my topic
matter from professional wrestling in specific, to the entertainment
field in general.
I was fortunate to have this opportunity to
speak with Michele Watley, perhaps better known as Midori. She
is a beautiful and talented woman, who has been known to wear
She is the sister of singer Jody Watley, and
has even been linked with Kid Rock.
But the list hardly stops there, as above all
else, Midori is her own person. Among those items listed on
her extensive resume are mother, webmaster, singer, dancer,
and adult film legend.
How does all that fit into my web site? Simple.
The adult film industry has been plagued with as many inaccuracies,
misconceptions, and stereotypes as the world of professional
wrestling, if not more so.
Therefore, I decided to contact Midori, one
of the adult industries' marquee performers, to uncover the
facts, rather than fiction. Along the way, I was able to get
a true understanding of Michele, the person, as well as Midori,
"Welcome to www.johnrodeo.com, and thank you for joining
us. Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing the adult film
star Midori. Midori, I would like to thank you for joining us,
and giving us the opportunity to learn a little more about you."
you for having me."
a problem at all. I would likely start fittingly with the beginning,
which would be your childhood. I know that you were born in
North Carolina and later moved to Chicago, IL. If you could
share with us some of the details of that, such as the time
I was born in Durham, NC, and we didn't live there very long.
My father was a travelling minister. He held many revivals in
many places, and we would move around a lot. And before we moved
to Chicago, I don't know, it must have been between ages three
and six, we lived in Kansas City, MO, and then we moved to Chicago.
And when I was twelve, I moved out here (California) after my
parents split up, with my mom and my sister. I guess I was pretty
sheltered, because I was used to playing things like double
dutch, hide and go seek, and stuff like that. In Chicago I had
to be home when the streetlights came on, as my father was kind
of strict. Than I moved to California, it was junior high school,
and I was in seventh grade, and girls had boyfriends, they were
kissing, and I was just mortified. I had never seen, y'know,
that sort of thing before. It was just different. I still have
my mid-western ways about myself. I am pretty much down to earth.
I see totally different qualities from people that are from
the West Coast, compared to the East, and the Midwest. But you
know, you kind of have to blend in. What's the word I am looking
you are in Rome, do as the Romans do. I grew up in California,
and lost my mind (laughing). I went crazy."
you think based upon your living all over, and your many experiences
that that has helped you become a much more diversified person
that you otherwise would have?"
Even though I was sheltered as a child, and pretty much I feel
sheltered in a lot of things. Even in my career there were certain
things that I just didn't have the desire to do, and I went
against the grain a lot. And I think me being around so many
different types of people in different areas through the world,
because I even lived in Europe right after high school, and
before junior college. All of that has made me into a person
that accepts people, as they are, until the reveal themselves
to be something that I do not want to be around. I don't judge
anyone. Basically it is like, ok if that makes your boat float
than cool! And I think I kind of like that about me. It saddens
me with so much of the prejudice, and the sexist people with
their judgements. That stuff hurts. And also keeps you from
really experiencing. If you cannot travel, you should at least
try to experience the different cultures around the place that
you live. It's a melting pot. And I am happy that even in my
sheltered life, I never heard my father and my family speak
of any negativity about people, and races. I think that helped
me become an open-minded person. And I think it was probably
why it was an easy move for me to get involved in the adult
business, because I didn't think like most people think, you
know, it is a horrible, nasty, degrading thing to do. But yeah,
I think that if you travel right in your neighborhood…"
agree, just take a walk down the hall."
upon that, I was hoping you could let us know what your relationship
is with your parents today, as well as your sister, whom a lot
of people might know of, but the just might be aware she is
related to you, singer Jody Watley."
sister and I are pretty closer. As siblings do, we have our
ups and downs. But were pretty close. My mom and I are somewhat
close. It is weird because my sister is more like my mother
than my mom is. My mom is more like a best friend sort of thing.
My father is deceased. My brother lives in Japan. We are basically
a small family, and kind of close knit. I guess that is it,
I have distant relatives, but I do not speak to them, you know?"
upon your immediate family, would you say that through the years
that the ups and downs have only helped to strengthen each ones
understanding the viewpoints, and respecting the opinions of
With me, I am the youngest one. My brother and sister are ten
and twelve years older than me. And I do not think they accepted
the fact that I was an adult until probably midstream of my
adult career. I do not think that they really grasped that fact
until stuff started being talked about in the media. I've always
pretty much been a wild child, not so much wild as much as I've
done what I wanted to do, regardless of the advice that was
given to me. I kind of had to experience things for myself.
So I do not think it was so much of a surprise that I got into
the (adult film) business. And as far as strengthening, that
is the final outcome. We had to understand why people are so
judgmental, and that kind of brings up questions within yourself.
I think that my brother, my sister, and my mom got to know me
better after I stood my ground, and continued to do my whole
stated earlier that some aspects of your growing up led you
in the direction of, or prepared you for, a career in adult
is one of the reasons. Another one is as I started investigating
the business I noticed that there were not a lot of positive,
ethnic type, of images. You have the playboy blond, who is sexy
and every man's dream, and as an African American woman I was
like 'ok, where is the sex symbol that looks like me?' And there
were very few, if not any. That made me a little head strong,
and I tried to figure out why. And the further I looked into
it I thought 'I want to change this, because this isn't right."
that back in 1996?"
the first movie I did was back in 1995. It took me a year to
think it out, and realize that this was something that I really
wanted to do, and knowing that I couldn't take it back, and
what affect it was going to have on my child and my family and
stuff like that. I kind of worked it out, it took a while, but
I worked it out. So here I sit, years later."
was it about the industry that made you decide that was a career
path you wanted to take. And from there, how did you go about
contacting someone in the industry to show your interest?"
I knew a friend of mine who was in the music business. And he
started working for one of the video companies. And the more
he was telling me what he was up to, the more I started asking
questions. This went on for a while. And basically he said 'why
don't you just do a movie and get it out of your system, because
you keep asking me about it, and I know that you are curious.
I was like no, no, no. And at that time I was dancing, dancing
in strip clubs. I kept hearing about features, and things like
this. I realized that to make the good money, and to not keep
having to hussle for table dances you would have to become a
feature. Basically a feature is a magazine, or a centerfold,
a covergirl, a porn star, or a huge busted woman. And also like
I said, the whole race thing, plus I was working on the music
thing, and I wanted to get out of my sister's shadow. So I conjured
this whole plan up in my head, that if I got into the adult
business I could make some good money, reinvest that into my
music career, and then get some publicity. Basically that is
you said that a key factor in your getting involved in the industry
was to fill a void of minorities."
back, do you feel you accomplished that, by breaking open new
It is amazing, and I am honored with this award that I am about
to say. AVN (Adult Video News) awarded me as Best Supporting
Actress. In the seventeen-year history, I was the first African
American woman to win an AVN Award. And I've been breaking ground
like that in this new age, or new times, I am opening doors
that I feel should have been opened a long time ago. So yeah,
I have. I guess I am more driven than some of the girls, that
I have come across in the business. I was upset because when
I took a break, no one picked up the torch and went on, in my
mind, with what I was trying to do. And the industry has changed
from the time that I got in it, till now. It is like I did a
lot of good things as far as putting out a positive image. Because
this street, hip-hop element is not all black American culture
is about. And in my pictures, and the roles I would take and
stuff I wanted to break old stereotypes. And it seems like I
did. There are a couple of other girls who are out there, that
are in companies that are doing it, but not the way that I went
about it. But then again I am kind of a determined person."
are some of the misconceptions, or the stereotypes about the
business as a whole? Where does the truth lie?"
just like any business you have people who are just concerned
with the money. Than there are people who do not care about
their talent, or their employees. That is real prevalent in
the adult industry. And you have young girls coming in who are
making fast money and they are not being responsible with the
choices that they are making because they just want a fat paycheck.
You know? And in a year or two they are burnt out, and they
are not even twenty-five yet. I think that responsibility lies
on both parties. I think it is up to the people who have been
around longer to tell the truth, both the good and the bad of
being involved in the industry. A lot of these young girls just
don't know. They come out here (to California) from I don't
know, lord knows from where, and they get caught up in the craziness.
It's a serious step to take to bring a camera into your sex
life. There are a lot of negative things that come with that
from people who are not as open minded as the performer."
couldn't agree more."
a lot of these girls do not know how to handle it, or they did
not realize how serious it is. When you walk down the street
and someone recognizes you, you stand the chance of getting
attacked, raped, or whatever such as paint being thrown at you
from some protester. You just never know. People do not think
that we have to think about those sorts of things. And there
are other things, such as the health issues. We are tested every
three weeks, both B and A, blood tests. I actually feel safer
with my partners in the business, because I can backtrack. They
keep records of who has been sleeping with whom. And most of
the time people are not going to risk their meal ticket to have
some irresponsible sex. Because sex is a career move, and to
jeopardize it by doing something stupid, most times it is a
thought that goes through the performers mind. But a lot of
people do not think that we think like that. They think that
we are just ill moraled people. In my career I have heard all
types of stuff. Luckily, perhaps because I am vocal, people
see different sides of me. My fans and supporters are pretty
much nice to me. But I have had a couple of knuckleheads, both
male and female, whom have called me all kinds of crazy names,
and asked crazy questions. It has made me a stronger person,
but I have known other girls that have freaked out and did crazy
things to themselves because they could not handle the pressure."
some ways that actually ties into my next question. The film
Boogie Nights portrays some of those same images that you were
describing. Would you say that overall, that is still an accurate
portrayal of the industry?"
Well, times have changed. That was in the era of the seventies
going into the eighties. And overall, I think people think a
little bit differently. But there are your party people, and
your swingers. Than you have people that are doing their drugs
or whatever. But now it is more business oriented on many different
levels for the people in the adult industry. But you know, there
was a lot of truth to that movie, but times have changed."
am glad that we covered that aspect of your career, as likely
most people know you as an adult film actress."
that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as your role as an
entertainer. I would like to cover some of your career before
getting into adult films, as well as what you are up to today.
Can you tell the audience about some of your experience in stage
Before I got into the adult business I was with the theatrical
Time Company and I was in a play called Shades. There was another
one that I did that did not really get off of the ground. Yeah,
I was a Theatre Arts major. Being theatrical was a natural thing
for me. I like performing. I know my mom still wishes that I
would have gone more into mainstream acting cause she thinks
that I am really talented with that. I have done all kinds of
stuff. I was a hair model (for Vidal Sasson), I did some commercial
modeling on small parts in TV commercials, a couple of magazines
(including Elle), and print ads. But I was not tall enough to
become a super model. Than I got into dancing. Since I was fourteen
I was into the whole hip-hop thing, jazz, and ballet. Than I
found a way to just combine everything, and become a cross over
type of performer. I've been lucky where I can bounce back and
forth between mainstream and adult. And it is very rare that
I have gone into a bar, especially being a minority, I am blessed
to do what I want to do and find acceptance among the people
that have given me my job, and stuff like that."
leads me to one of your other passions, your music. What type
of music did you listen to, what type of music do you perform,
and what sparked in interest in you that made you want to go
out and pursue that?"
listened to the music that my sister listened to. There was
disco, Donna Summer, and all types of different kinds of music.
And I didn't really seriously consider music until probably
until the mid-nineties. I had done some background singing for
some different groups, and I think it was because of my sister,
hanging out with her, meeting people and stuff, that it was
a natural thing to be asked to sing backup. In the beginning
I did not want to sing because that is what my sister did. But
the bug got me. One particular morning I was in the shower,
and I decided I want to put out some music. I kept pursuing
it. But I put it on the back burner when I had my daughter.
But once I got comfortable, and had some free time, that when
I picked it back up again. And then once I became really deeply
involved in the adult industry I decided that maybe singing
R and B or pop, wouldn't be the right choice. And that is when
I got into rapping, because the image and the personalities,
that whole theme meshed together. There are so many rappers
trying to be strippers, and talk as if they are porn stars,
that I do not want to do that either. So I have gone back to
singing, but I am mixing them all together. I am a high spirited
person, so dance music is my ultimate favorite. And being raised
on disco, I guess that would be the next natural choice of music
to like. But I am pretty much open. I like oldies, Marvin Gaye,
kind of bluesy stuff, rock and all kinds of stuff. But I prefer
dance music, so I can perform my way."
of music, not everyone might know that in the past you had a
relationship with Kid Rock. Musically speaking, was there something
that he brought to the table that you were able to learn from?"
No, because I have had my sister to look up to and to learn
from, before him. But, I did learn the whole publicity game
from him. To seize your moment when it's there, because you
never know when you are going to get another one. And basically
to keep that attitude, and keep your eyes and ears open because
you never know who you are talking to. Just to network, and
to know where the right place is, at the right time."
Kid Rock fans I am sure remember Joe C. fondly. Do you have
any good memories of Joe C. from the times that you performed
with Kid Rock on the road?"
At the beginning, when he started becoming nationally known,
Joe C. did not want to tour as he had never been out of Michigan.
So I did Joe C.'s parts on tour, which was interesting. The
lyrics had to be changed a little bit. Joe C. was a cool guy,
a real cool guy. He basically said what was on his mind, and
not because he thought he could get away with it because people
would feel sorry for him, but because he really didn't give
a sh*t (laughing). So he was a real tough little guy."
you might know, I managed pro wrestling in the past. And for
years Joe C. himself was a big wrestling fan."
that is right, he was. I forgot about that. A lot of times I
know he was sick, and all he could do was rest and watch television.
So yeah, being as funky as he was, I am sure that wrestling
would appeal to him."
and you have another website, www.midorixxx.com.
I was wondering exactly how the Internet has affected the adult
film industry as a whole, as well as how it has affected you
personally and professionally."
for people who are interested in hearing my music, being that
I do not have a major record deal right now, it is available
for the people who are seeking it out. And the fact that you
can communicate with people on the other side of the world at
your leisure is a great thing. It has helped me out a lot. You
got in touch with me. And actually, when I traveled over to
Europe, it came from people contacting me from over the Internet."
Internet has been mighty good to me."
there any favorite websites that you like to visit?"
do not get the chance to surf around a lot, because I am working
a lot on my site, trying to pull it together, so I can go on
and work on another project. I didn't realize that becoming
a webmaster was going to take up my life, geez. But I do not
get a chance too much. There are a couple of music sites I go
onto, www.want.com, and www.morpheus.com.
It is like a napster."
ok. Do you have any of your music on there?"
also have an MP3 site, www.mp3.com/midorimusic.
And I also have two cd's. One is a dance music CD, and the other
is a hip-hop CD."
That is great to know. Now that we have covered many aspects
of your career, I have more general interest types of questions.
Obviously you have a great body, and you are in tremendous shape.
Is there a specific diet that you have, or a workout routine
that you do?"
I was involved in gymnastics and dance, pretty much from an
early age, and muscle has memory. And I have a daughter who
keeps me very busy. I was roller blading earlier this afternoon
with her. Plus I have a young spirit, and I think that is what
helps me out a lot. It starts with your mind first, and then
it works down to the physical. Basically I'd say from dancing,
and being active."
you have any tattoos or piercings?"
I've got one, two, three, four, four tattoos. My belly button
is pierced, and of course my ears are pierced. That is about
it. I may get one more tattoo. I have to find the right place
for it. All of my tattoos are small, not so much inconspicuous,
but they are not loud tattoos, so most people do not notice
them. And I kind of want to keep it that way. But I have to
find the next spot on my body. What is weird is that I am such
a big baby. Everytime I get a tattoo, I always cry and say 'Oh
God, I'm never going to do this again,' but it is addicting."
I know what you mean. I have a tattoo of Rodeo Drive on my left
shoulder, and oddly enough I do not like needles much at all.
What types of tattoos do you have?"
got tribal, most of my tattoos are tribal, and I am very true
to my astrological sign, which is cancer (born July nineteenth),
and I have the symbol. I have two of the symbols worked into
my tribal art. Most people think it is a sixty-nine, but it
is more a yin and yang. It is more like the energy of the sun,
set in the calmness of a crescent moon."
sounds very interesting."
I wanted them to have a meaning, so and I kind of studied it.
Yeah, and I got it inked on me."
what is something that about you that most people do not know,
would not think, or would expect about yourself?"
I am pretty much conservative (laughing). Even though I am open
minded, and youthful, and high spirited, and all of that, I
am a conservative, reserved, person. I don't like, well I love
people, but I have my moments where I kind of withdraw. I guess
when I am getting my creative juices going, that I do not like
talking on the phone (laughing). And I get weird, I don't like
being bothered. But then I come out of it, and I want to go
is it about entertaining, being on stage, or in front of the
camera, that you enjoy the most?"
can comfortably say that I was an insecure kid. I think that
I grew into myself by watching peoples' reactions to me. I guess,
maybe I was seeking some attention. And what is weird is that
people have always told me that I was attractive, or whatever,
and I never believed it. I didn't believe it until people started
paying me to take pictures. I was like, gosh, well I guess I
am not ugly (laughing)."
I'd guess not (laughing)."
used to be a real big pushover. I was broken hearted probably
all of the time before I became Midori. And I found my strength
as a woman when I got into the adult business because I was
the one who was in control of whom I was going to sleep with.
Versus being manipulated, or rather than thinking with my heart
rather than my head, and just feeling that emotional pain. And
there is no emotion, it is all physical in the adult business.
So a couple of years of not having to have any emotions, and
just finding my empowerment, I do not regret my decision at
all, being involved in the adult business. Because I'd rather
be how I am now, than how I was before. God, Billie Holiday
had nothing on what I was doing, as far as singing the blues
and crying and all that stuff. Yuck (laughing)."
overall, it has been a great learning experience?"
The only thing that bothers me is that because I was a contract
girl (Video Team) for three years with a really good company,
I didn't know that it was such a hard road to travel as an ethnic
performer in the adult business. And not only in porno, but
as a stripper, a feature dancer. I didn't see it at first. I
mean I did see it, because that is one of the reasons that I
got into the business. But I was really lucky, because I had
a good company that supported me, that gave me really good publicity
with marketing tools. And now that I am not with them, I think
thank God that I made a name for myself, because if I was a
nobody, I'd probably not get that much work. And that is really
the only problem that I have, I don't know, I can't really say
that it is the business, because it is the people that are making
the decisions based upon what they think their customers, or
clients, or whomever, and what they think they like. And I wouldn't
be where I am at if you know that was true. And I have a wide
cross over fan base. So when I hear we don't book black girls,
I am like 'why, why, why,' and they think some gang bangers
are going to come into the club and tear the place up, and not
spend money at the bar. And it is like, (laughing) what the
f*ck are you talking about. It is part of people not wanting
to break a comfort zone, because they do not think it is broke,
so why try and fix it. And I've got this Miss Fix It complex,
and I am like something needs to be done."
think the Miss Fix It attitude, as you call it, in some instances
can be a great thing. Because if one always took the status
quo as the way it is always going to be, and nothing would change.
So your mindset can be good, because it can spark a change."
I know. I've changed some peoples' mindsets in various ways
with the race issue, and with a woman's being a porn star. With
some people getting to know me, and knowing that I am a pretty
well put together person, and I am not some so called prostitute
or whore, or whatever. A lot of people are like, I thought all
of those girls were drug addicts, and dumb, and whores. And
it is like no. Some are wives, and moms, and CEO's of their
own little companies or business, whether on the web, or production,
or whatever. That is the part that I do like, when I know that
I have changed someone's thinking, and helped them open their
eyes, and go against a stereotype, or whatever."
ability to open peoples mind, or to alter some of rules and
practices of an industry is a powerful statement in itself."
have a few more questions for you before I let you run."
just based upon the business, but your life as a whole…"
would be the person, or people, that you have learned the most
Gosh, there is a lot of people. Sean Michaels (the adult film
star, not the wrestler Shawn Michaels), Sharon Mitchell, Nina
Hartley, my ex boss over at Video Team. And my fans, my die
hard fans that knew me even before I became Midori, with the
little bit parts of the things I had done before, and have stuck
with me, even now. You know that people are not as bad as bad
as other people would like to make them out to be (laughing),
and I have actually learned a lot from my kid. Yeah. And I guess
following my instincts because I had a plan. I knew that when
I put all of this stuff together that something was going to
happen, or that I was going to make the best of it. And I've
followed that little voice, and actually I've had a pretty good
time the last six years of my life (laughing)."
am very glad to hear that. Based upon that, what would be some
advice that you would pass on to other people. Not just advice
for those looking to get into the entertainment industry, but
just life in general."
I mean basically not to take your freedom of choice for granted,
and let other people who have ulterior motives make those decisions
for you. Just stand up for what you believe in, and don't back
down from it, because it is your life. There are people out
there that want to take things away from you because they have
some kind of problem, or issues, with themselves. I believe
that people should mind their own business (laughing). Of course
if it is harmful, or something like that, or life threatening,
of course do something about it. But honestly, if it is something
that is in a magazine, or if you want to date the same sex,
or a different race (laughing) so what. Leave people alone (laughing)."
agree. If I can make my own analogy, a lot of people are critical
of wrestling because of its violent content. Yet, violence is
also pervasive in films and television."
is always that option of turning the channel, as there are other
alternatives out there."
It is like these people who protest, that stand out there all
day holding signs, don't they have something better to do. I
don't understand that. I mean, feel free to say what you have
to say because you are going with what you believe. But to turn
it to where it becomes harmful to another person, than that
is becoming a hypocrite."
anything, it is as much what you believe in, as much as how
you present it."
are many a people that watch porno movies, look in magazines,
or whatever, but won't admit to it. And it is like, what has
society done to make a person not want to say 'hey, yeah, I
do that and what is the problem with it.'"
don't get it."
there any appearances coming up, or anything else that you would
like to plug?"
Let's see here. I'll be in Chicago from the fourteenth through
the twentieth of January at the Admiral Theater. I am going
to be editing some more of the movie that I've produced and
shot a while back, and throwing that up on my website. And in
the near future I am going to be pulling all of the various
Midori entities together, under one umbrella, which would be
And I am trying to find the perfect streaming host so I can
start doing live chats, and one on ones and stuff, but I'm still
looking. So if anyone has any, you know, companies that they
know of, please let me know."
they can contact you through your websites, www.midorixxx.com,
and the www.midorientertainment.net
that you had mentioned."
the MP3 site, www.mp3.com/midorimusic
where you can download, and purchase, my music.
I'd really like to thank you for one, agreeing to do this interview,
and taking the time to do it. And secondly, for shedding a lot
of light, not just on the adult industry, but on yourself as
thank you. And I know that I can be really long winded. But
I have a lot of things that I think about, and when I start
talking it is almost as if I am thinking out loud, you know.
I'm sorry that I kind of rattled on there (laughing)."
at all. That is why I wanted you as a guest, to hear what you
wanted to say. I just want to thank you again."